What Is The Most Expensive Drink At Starbucks?

Billy wanted to maximize the value of his coupon for one free drink at Starbucks. But which tongue-twisting truffle-invoking concoction to request? Billy decided on a Venti Soy Hazelnut Vanilla Cinnamon White Mocha with extra White Mocha and caramel—plus 13 espresso shots. How did the $13.76 potion taste?

After she rang up the amount, I then presented her the coupon (which I didn’t reveal beforehand). She laughed, comped the entire drink, and I left.

At first taste, it tasted just like a shot. The 13 shots in it were just too strong. However, when I got home, I mixed it more with a spoon and it became drinkable (even enjoyable to my girlfriend). It was very sweet and I’m still shaking a bit. I didn’t attempt to drink the entire thing since I’d like to sleep tonight….

UPDATE: We put it in the freezer and it’s delicious frozen!

What’s the most expensive Starbucks drink you can imagine? Share your recipes in the comments.

The Most Expensive Drink at Starbucks [An Error Occurred While Processing This Directive]


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  1. MonkeySwitch says:

    The most expensive drink I can imagine is any of them. Because their coffee is all over priced burnt crap.

  2. wedgekun says:

    “Flavor shots?” The “shots” you see in the receipt are extra espresso shots, not like pumps of syrup or anything. He just managed to order a huge amount of espresso.

    And please, don’t call them “flavor shots.”

    • David Millar says:

      @wedgekun: I think you missed the part where it says “ADD CINNAMON”, “ADD MOCHA”, “ADD HAZELNUT”, etc… and in all fairness, some people still call them flavor shots instead of syrup.

  3. oneswellfoop says:

    heh heh. flavor shots.

  4. elislider says:

    haha thats hilarious! great way to make some frozen coffee/syrup treats i suppose :-p

  5. water?

  6. Landru says:

    The main reason I don’t go to Starbucks is that they insist on changing the language to suit themselves.

    Common coffee related words (small medium large etc.) replaced by words they have copyrighted or better in a marketing way – (tall, venti etc.)

    “I’d like a small coffee please”.
    “You mean a tall coffee, sir.”
    “No, I’m sure I want a small one”.
    “One tall coffee coming up!”

    Look for the TM next to Flavor Shots. I’m sure it’s there.

  7. no.no.notorious says:

    @discounteggroll: yeah per fluid oz it’s probably their bottled water

  8. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    I get a Venti carmel frappicino with 4 add-shots xtra caramel sauce and a shot of orange if they have it.

    My freind worked at a starbucks and said there was a regular that came in twice a day, All tired and looking as if he stayed up until 7am, He got the same thing every time

    Venti (americano?) which was just expresso on ice filled to the top in a venti cup……. My freind said it was like watching a Crack addict, He would come in destroyed and leave wired beyond belief, He would then come back later in the day for round 2 just as destroyed as he was before

  9. PenguinBlue says:

    As the other commenters pointed out, those are extra shots of espresso, not “flavor.” The Venti White Mocha comes with 2 shots of espresso by default, and he added 11 additional shots.

    At 1.5 ounces per shot, espresso alone was taking up 19.5 ounces in the 20-ounce cup.

    He also added pumps of vanilla, hazelnut, mocha, caramel, and cinnamon, leaving basically no room in the cup for any milk.

    In other words, the most expensive thing at Starbucks is multi-flavored espresso with a drop of soy milk.

  10. b612markt says:

    Starbucks makes me poo.

    • Brandon Calderon says:

      @b612markt: “Starbucks makes me poo.”
      Maybe you shouldn’t order 6+ Shots of expresso like a some of the customers that come into my store.

      ‘Yes i’d like a venti latte with 4 add shots.’
      ‘One cup of Diarrhea coming right up.’

  11. cheera says:


    Man, I dont know where you go, but every time I order a small whatever (I dont order it like that out of spite, I order it out of habit because Starbucks isn’t my usual coffee place) , they don’t say anything. They just give me the total.

  12. Hoss says:

    Picking nits, I know, but shouldnt the store add tax before crediting the total? In other words, doesnt Starbucks owe NYC $1.06?

  13. @PenguinBlue:

    starting to sound more and more like [us] geeks everyday, except:

    where we use RAM, HD, FSB, SSD, quad-core, etc…you’re talking shots, drops, venti, pumps (and what is and isn’t by default).

    pretty soon I’m gonna have a consultant advise me on a great starbucks setup to fit my situation

  14. uricmu says:

    @Landru: Just like with Pizzas, you can go medium, large or extra large. There should be a rule saying that you can’t have medium if you don’t have small.

  15. zeroraveson says:

    @Hossofcourse: The taxable amount would be on the value of the purchase, $0.00. If you’re being charged the tax on a coupon, then you’re being overcharged (assuming this is one point of tax law that is relatively consistent across states).

  16. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Oooh..time to break out the “Starbucks coffee tastes like crap” and the “Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is the best coffee that ever existed” feud. Lock up your children and pets and barricade yourself indoors.

    I can make better coffee than either of them at home.

  17. Squot says:

    @Hossofcourse: Nope. Starbucks builds the tax into the price of the item – there’s a leetle sign somewhere that says that it’s absorbed into the price.

    (Thus, your grande mocha is not actually 3.95, it’s 3.75 (or whatever) plus tax.)

  18. Synth3t1c says:

    @b612markt: me too :(

  19. RefinedbyFire says:

    @MonkeySwitch: Thanks for posting the obligatory “I don’t like the taste and its expensive” comment that goes with every article about Starbucks. It’s good to have that out of the way.

    Anyway, “I’vealwaysgotmail” hit on the nose with the frappuccino with extra syrup and espresso. In terms of a single beverage, thats going to be at the top. Also, I might add, when people talk about “$5 cups of coffee,” I like to remind them that depending on the size, the coffee is either $1.75, $1.96, or $2.09, which, while pricey, is not five dollars.

    P.S. gotmail, that’s gotta be one runny frappuccino.

  20. FishingCrue says:

    @ivealwaysgotmail10: The disheveled gent’s name is John and he works in my office. I don’t think he even owns a bed.

    Focus: Why do people think that ‘sticking it to the man’ by getting the most expensive item comped at the cost of taste is a good idea? Get something you like and enjoy it. It’s the same thing as someone trying to ‘get their money’s worth’ by dragging their kids all over a theme park at breakneck speeds to ride all the rides.

  21. sburnap42 says:

    @wedgekun: Look at the receipt again. “ADD HAZELNUT”, “ADD VANILLA” and “ADD CINNAMON” are all “flavor shots”.

  22. MonkeySwitch says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: I don’t remember saying anything about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. But for the record, I’m sure it’s not that great either.

    I worked for Starbucks for a while, and I now work at a local coffee roaster. The difference is amazing. I’m not trying to be some anti-starbucks fangirl. I’m not even suer crazy about coffee. I love chai. If people are happy at Starbucks, then good for you. I just have a hard time taking “serious coffee drinkers” seriously when Starbucks is their coffee of choice. It’s like taking someone seriously when Domino’s or Pizza Hut is their favorite pizza.

  23. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Flavor Shots is hilarious.
    I will never refer to them as anything else.
    Thanks for the chuckle.

  24. Trauma_Hound says:

    @MonkeySwitch: Yes we call them Charbucks here in Seattle.

  25. Outtacontext says:

    What? A post about Starbucks without mentioning Peets? Well, that’s all I have to say.

  26. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @MonkeySwitch: No, you didn’t, but somebody will before this thread is dead. Any thread that mentions Starbucks will eventually break down into Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts.

  27. f0nd004u says:

    I live in SW Portland, OR, and people still go to starbucks.

    and Peet’s is ok. I got a travel french press there!

  28. sibertater says:

    @Landru: I’m a Starbucks employee and I ask people if they want a Small, Medium or Large drink…I am not a team player.

  29. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    Anyone who has had Scooter’s coffee knows that going to Starbucks is like getting out of your Ferarri to drive a Fiat.

  30. sibertater says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: We’re getting a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street. It makes me laugh.

  31. sibertater says:

    @MonkeySwitch: Agreed. It fills a niche.

  32. phalex says:

    While adding a fuckload of extra espresso shots to a drink will ring up the biggest bill at the register, you’re not actually screwing Starbucks over that much. I work at an independent coffee shop in North Carolina, and dairy is definitely the most expensive component of any drink. It’s why we charge $3.50 for an iced espresso — customers usually top off 2/3 of the space in the cup with the half-and-half at the condiment bar.

    That said, the best way to cheat Starbucks is probably the “ghetto latte,” which is something like an iced americano with no water, which you then top off with their fatty and expensive dairy.

    And flavor shots are a travesty. That is all.

  33. pyloff says:

    HEY I like love Funkin Gonuts.

  34. @MonkeySwitch: Or they go to the Olive Garden for serious Italian cuisine. Taco Bell for authentic Mexican taste. The list goes on.

  35. JeffM says:

    @uricmu: Starbuck’s has a small- it’s called a “short” – so I hear. Mythical and not on the menu- but I understand it has pricing established for it. If I’m going to get coffee I generally get a larger size (fat American) so I wouldn’t know. :(

  36. jamar0303 says:

    @phalex: Guilty as charged. I’ve never been charged $3.50 for an iced espresso, though. I always do the same- 2 espresso shots, tall cup half-full with ice, then I fill with soy milk. It’s gotten to the point where the employee will see me and tell me my order and point out where the soy milk is.

    On the other hand, soy milk isn’t exactly dairy, is it?

  37. ExtraCelestial says:

    an americano is actually espresso AND water. the number of shots is the same as any other espresso drink (tall-one, grande-two, venti-three) its basically coffee with a richer bean, not really that bad.

  38. ExtraCelestial says:

    OMG YES!!! i hate going into little shops to order a medium soda and get handed a 32oz monstrosity! or the opposite with three drops of nothing. medium is supposed to be in the middle. if there isnt a comparable its not really medium.

    i meant to say venti- two

    ps- i finally had dunkin donuts the other day and it was terrible. the only thing worse is coffee from the little cafes in department stores. yech!! except bloomingdales… they have this nespresso machine thats faboo

  39. Lacclolith says:

    Double Ristretto Venti Half-Soy Nonfat Decaf Organic Chocolate Brownie Iced Vanilla Double-Shot Gingerbread Frappuccino Extra Hot With Foam Whipped Cream Upside Down Double Blended, One Sweet’N Low and One Nutrasweet, and Ice, according to

  40. phalex says:

    @jamar0303: Soy’s not dairy, but that shit ain’t cheap! a half-gallon at the grocery store can cost the same as a full gallon of regular milk (well, before regular milk got super expensive recently).

    @Lacclolith: Spew. I have one customer who consistently orders an iced king (24 oz) vanilla latte with extra caramel BREVE, which means half and half (and costs way extra), with NO ICE. That’s about 20 ounces of half and half a few times a week. (The rest of the time he gets a 1,000-or-so whole milk latte with whip.) No idea how this guy hasn’t keeled over yet.

    It’s all about the redeye/depth charge or quality hot cocoa over espresso shots for me.

  41. phalex says:

    @phalex: 1,000 or so calorie. Durr.

  42. drjayphd says:

    @MonkeySwitch: Wow, who had “first comment” in the pool?

  43. morganlh85 says:

    Here’s a few tips on making an expensive drink:

    Extra of the same syrup (i.e. the extra white mocha in a white mocha) does NOT cost extra (it’s not supposed to anyway). Adding a DIFFERENT syrup does cost extra.

    Whipped cream does not cost extra.

    Soy milk costs extra. Extra shots of espresso cost extra.

    Iced venti drinks cost more than venti hot drinks because they have an extra shot of espresso.

    Using your own mug makes a drink cost less.

    Adding caramel drizzle adds cost.

    Frappuccinos tend to cost more, but adding syrups and whatnot changes the consistency so much that you won’t want to drink it anymore.

  44. morganlh85 says:

    @Landru: Tall is actually pretty common among ALL coffee shops.

  45. morganlh85 says:

    @phalex: lol I had a guy like that too…he was HUGE and he was on the Atkins diet, and half-and-half has no carbs in it…he would get a venti breve white mocha two times a day. I felt like I was killing his heart!

  46. MMD says:

    @morganlh85: Yeah, but I’d be willing to bet that’s because the Starbucks naming has influenced other shops at this point.

  47. Me. says:

    Ah… the Poor Man’s Latte: the bane of my existence. I drink expresso on ice because (in AZ, where I live) it eventually melts into the perfect icy non-watered down americano. However, spiteful baristas (of which I used to be) always make it wrong because of the Poor Man’s Latte. Oh, my life is so terribly hard….!

  48. Me. says:

    Ah poop. Did I really just write “expresso?” I’m so embarassed.

  49. camman68 says:

    @uricmu: In most stores, they do have a small. It is called a “short” but it isn’t on the menu.

  50. phalex says:

    @Me.: As I’m sure you know, baristas in my experience WANT to make drinks exactly to customer specifications — being able to have a specific drink ready for the customer right after they finish at the register is something I actually take pride in at an otherwise lame job. It’s management who’ll bitch out baristas over how much whipped cream or flavor or ice or foam is going into a drink.

    @camman: Yeah, we hide our short cups behind the counter and don’t serve short coffees unless specifically requested by name. Sneaky bullshit.

  51. rmuser says:

    @Landru: A tale of victory: [everything2.com]

  52. dantsea says:

    YAY, Starbucks wank! Carey = Consumerist Santa

  53. matahari says:

    @JeffM: There is a short, it’s 8 oz. I usually order it because I don’t want a ton of milk, but still lots of espresso flavor. My typical order is a double short cappuccino, but any drink I get there now is a double short (2 espresso shots in the 8 oz cup) because it’s better and cheaper.

  54. avantartist says:

    the most expensive drink might be a double shot of espresso in a venti cup and then top the cup off with splenda.

  55. jamar0303 says:

    @phalex: I live in China. With innumerable brands of the stuff it’s about the same price as regular milk (which runs about $1/half-gallon, and cheaper before the exchange rate started tanking- been out of America for so long dunno how pricey it is).

  56. thewriteguy says:

    One thing you have to give Starbucks, the company, credit for is that they pay and treat their employees pretty well (granting even part-timers health bennies). And I have found in my own experience that the people who work at Starbucks are cool — more so than the typical Starbucks customer. It’s a weird dissonance. So for this reason alone, I’d rather spend my money at Starbucks than at a fast food joint.

    However, I hardly buy their coffee. I stick with buying plain tea and a snack.

    So in summary: Starbucks’ treatment of their employees, and the baristas themselves = cool. But their coffee and the typical Starbucks customer = not so cool.

  57. HOP says:

    who drinks that crap????????

  58. dame1234 says:

    @b612markt: Me too

  59. ediebeale says:

    @thewriteguy: Starbucks employees may be cool people, but I can tell you from personal experience that most part timers don’t have benefits, since there is a strict average amount of hours a part timer has to work to qualify, and managers are told by corporate to mess with the schedule so most people come in under that requirement by 5 or 6 hours. That “benefits for part time employees” thing is just something Starbucks puts out there so to overcome customers’ liberal guilt.

  60. UpsetPanda says:

    …I’ve got a venti gingerbread latte sitting right next to me. Starbucks is the closest thing to work and when I need a quick pick-me-up, it’s where I go. The area I work in isn’t a great place to go driving around in unless you know exactly where you’re going. Unless you live here, good luck navigating. So I stick to my tried and true routes because I just haven’t had the time to find a better coffeeshop.

    *shrug* I don’t see the big problem with Starbucks, aside from the fact that the coffee just isn’t always very good.

    I think making blended coffees like lattes and such, it takes a lot of skill to be able to do it really well. It is what keeps people coming or makes them leave, I think. Whether it is Starbucks or an indie shop, I’ll go to where the better coffee is. A lot of times it is the indie shop, but where I went to college, the closest indie shop was better at milkshakes than coffees. The clerks at Starbucks and many of the indie shops were students at my college, but the Starbucks people were a lot nicer and did a better job. One guy in particular made the most amazing caramel macchiato.

  61. UpsetPanda says:

    Also, I can’t really be considered a “serious” coffeedrinker…well, as soon as I get the shiny coffeemaker I’ve got my eye on, maybe I’ll be able to actually brew something well. My coffeemaker right now is half broken from its last trip in the car coming back from college. But I do love different types of coffees and roasts. I kind of see Starbucks as the necessary evil…kind of like fast food. I hate fast food, but when I need something quick, don’t have time to make it myself, it’s a convenient thing.

  62. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I think I’ll go to Tim Horton’s and order a double-double.

  63. molife says:

    You have to at least give Starbucks credit – you wouldn’t be having this huge boring thread about coffee if it weren’t for Starbucks nationalizing it. I say nationalizing as the rest of the world or many parts have of course been coffee addicts for centuries. But before Starbucks the only concern in America over coffee was “sugar or cream sir?”

  64. kittenfoo says:

    as God is my witness, i have never been to starbucks.

  65. Witera33it says:

    Ok. Here’s me being a coffee geek.
    Starbucks DOUBLE roasts their coffee. Caffeine content in coffee is determined primarily through roast. The lighter the roast the more caffeine is in it. Therefore, due to excessive roasting, Starbucks has virtually no caffeine. I feel like they are scamming everyone because few people know that if it tastes strong it has very little kick. Because so few people know this, they augment their crappy tasting coffee with flavor shots and dairy to kill the burt taste, and espresso to kick up the caffeine. Imagine if the coffee was actually well roasted, people would spend alot less money for a tasty coffee beverage.

  66. stancey says:

    Sick. Was there even room for milk after all the shots/syrup?

  67. Maura Johnston says:

    i sure hope this dude left a tip… otherwise, way to just be an ass for the sake of a “funny” blog post

  68. KogeLiz says:

    starbucks debates are more annoying than Walmart and Mac vs PC debates.

  69. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @Witera33it: Sorry, but you’re no coffee geek; you’re repeating an old myth about the caffeine. See here [www.energyfiend.com] for accurate info about caffeine content.

  70. VA_White says:

    They DO have a small. It’s called a short and it’s not on the menu. Most of the calories in a drink are in the syrup and the milk. Even if you order nonfat milk, twelve ounces of nonfat milk in a tall is 120 calories and that’s before any syrup is added. A short only has 8 ounces of milk, knocking forty calories off the drink and deepens the flavor with a higher coffee-to-milk ratio.

    I order a double short sugar-free cinnamon latte. It’s delicious, costs $3.24, and is about 90 calories.